Heat Wave: Kyle Busch Keeps Up Heated Roll With Win In 5-Hour Energy 301 At NHMS

By Shawn Courchesne

Kyle Busch poses in Victory Lane with "Loudon the Lobster" after winning the Sprint Cup Series 5-Hour Energy 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday (Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch poses in Victory Lane with “Loudon the Lobster” after winning the Sprint Cup Series 5-Hour Energy 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday (Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)

LOUDON, N.H. – Throughout his career in NASCAR Kyle Busch has had a knack for making the impossible seem possible behind the wheel of a racecar.

And it seems the Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup Series driver is currently on a mission to prove once again that big challenges only prove to stoke his competitive fires even more.

On a steamy afternoon in Loudon Sunday, Busch’s blazing charge to rally from major injury in February to make the Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship had another highlight day.

Busch drove away from the field in the late stages to easily win the Sprint Cup Series 5-Hour Energy 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It was the third victory in the last four events for Busch.

“I feel like there’s a plan in this world for all of us and God has certainly put one on my table this year that I don’t know that I’ve ever really had this big of a challenge before, that’s in the injury and getting back in the racecar and getting back in the Chase,” Busch said. “In my mind, the opportunity I got put in front of me was to run 20 championship weeks from here on out to the end of the year, that’s what it’s going to be for us. And we’re making the most of that right now.”

Brad Keselowski was second Sunday and Kevin Harvick third. Middletown native Joey Logano was fourth.

After sustaining a broken right leg and fractured left foot in the season-opening XFINITY Series event at Daytona International Speedway and missed the first 11 races of the Sprint Cup season.

In May, with Busch set to return to action, NASCAR officials put forth a challenge. The rules for qualifying for the Chase field say a driver must start all of the series events to be eligible. But NASCAR has historically offered waivers to that rule based on extreme circumstances.

NASCAR deemed Busch’s situation as one of those instances and offered him a chance to get into the Chase by running the final 15 events of the regular season. NASCAR told Busch he had to win at least one event and make it to at least 30th in the standings and he would be one of 16 drivers in the Chase field.

Busch was 179 points behind 30th place when he ran his first event of the season on May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With seven events left before the Chase cutoff, Busch is now 33rd in the standings, 58 points behind 30th place David Gilliland.

“We just have to keep doing our deal every weekend and it’s been getting better and better,” Busch said. “It’s certainly the right thing to do is to win races and to gather those points, but to do it in the fashion we have been – just winning these things, that’s just spectacular and that’s awesome.”

Said team owner Joe Gibbs: “He’s been on a tear and mentally I think he’s really been up on it,” team owner Joe Gibbs said. “Ever since the injury … he’s really been after it. We’ve really been proud of him.”

Two significant moves set in motion Busch’s drive to victory Sunday in Loudon. Thinking he had a tire going down, Busch went to pit road under green for an earlier than expected pit stop on lap 244.

Despite going a lap down to the leaders, the move ultimately paid off big.

Busch used an aggressive weaving move by a lapped car, second place Keselowski and then leader Harvick to get back on the lead lap just before a caution flew on lap 251. The caution sent all the lead lap cars to the pits and Busch, having just been in, stayed on track and assumed the lead and never trailed again.

“We got a lucky break and I hauled butt man,” Busch said. Those five laps [after pitting and before the caution] I ran were five qualifying laps through traffic trying to get back up to the front and pass Harvick to stay on the lead lap. That was our saving bucket right there. That was what we needed to do.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – 5-hour ENERGY 301
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Loudon, New Hampshire
Sunday, July 19, 2015

1. (4) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 301, $271031.
2. (10) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 301, $214416.
3. (12) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 301, $184550.
4. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 301, $161258.
5. (19) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 301, $127600.
6. (8) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 301, $144026.
7. (1) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 301, $107315.
8. (24) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 301, $137601.
9. (23) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 301, $137901.
10. (6) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 301, $107415.
11. (26) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 301, $124590.
12. (15) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 301, $117485.
13. (22) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 301, $121898.
14. (5) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 301, $102615.
15. (29) Aric Almirola, Ford, 301, $125251.
16. (21) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 301, $111548.
17. (32) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 301, $95515.
18. (3) David Ragan, Toyota, 301, $115309.
19. (9) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 301, $100590.
20. (25) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 301, $113804.
21. (37) David Gilliland, Ford, 301, $112898.
22. (7) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 300, $129826.
23. (16) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 300, $81665.
24. (20) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 300, $92965.
25. (28) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 300, $92665.
26. (11) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 300, $114356.
27. (14) Greg Biffle, Ford, 299, $115048.
28. (33) Cole Whitt, Ford, 299, $95373.
29. (27) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 299, $109685.
30. (13) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 299, $84590.
31. (17) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 299, $110298.
32. (31) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 299, $124190.
33. (34) Brett Moffitt #, Ford, 297, $80890.
34. (18) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 297, $113348.
35. (35) Matt DiBenedetto #, Toyota, 296, $88537.
36. (38) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 296, $78760.
37. (41) Eddie MacDonald, Ford, 295, $78542.
38. (43) Timmy Hill(i), Ford, 292, $73727.
39. (42) Derek White(i), Chevrolet, 290, $69655.
40. (30) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 284, $73655.
41. (36) Jeb Burton #, Toyota, 239, $61655.
42. (40) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 230, $57655.
43. (39) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, Rear Gear, 202, $54155.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 108.504 mph.
Time of Race: 02 Hrs, 56 Mins, 06 Secs. Margin of Victory: Caution.
Caution Flags: 7 for 34 laps.
Lead Changes: 9 among 7 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Edwards 1-19; Kyle Busch 20-66; B. Keselowski 67-88; J. Gordon 89-90; A. Allmendinger 91-103; B. Keselowski 104-178; J. Logano 179-190; B. Keselowski 191-193; K. Harvick 194-252; Kyle Busch 253-301.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): B. Keselowski 3 times for 100 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 96 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 59 laps; C. Edwards 1 time for 19 laps; A. Allmendinger 1 time for 13 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 12 laps; J. Gordon 1 time for 2 laps.
Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 734; J. Logano – 665; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 655; J. Johnson – 646; M. Truex Jr. – 628; B. Keselowski – 603; M. Kenseth – 578; Kurt Busch – 576; J. Mcmurray – 574; J. Gordon – 573; D. Hamlin – 552; K. Kahne – 538; R. Newman – 530; P. Menard – 528; A. Almirola – 502; C. Bowyer – 500.

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Comments

  1. Amazed at how many empty seats there were; while I am sure the economy has something to do with it, I think it has more to do with the state of NASCAR.

  2. My guess is that the fans are tired of the quality of NASCAR WWF full fendered taxi cabs races at NHIS. Its all about qualifying and track position, with very little passing or excitement. These races just plain suck. Aside from the WMT race the weekend is a waste of time.

    I used to go religiously years ago but stopped when I got tires of having to pay inflated prices at the local hotels with three night minimums not to mention you had to pay for your seats some 6 or more months in advance. NASCAR and all the related entities putting these events together are all getting what they deserve. I have bought my last $30 t-shirt and that was 10+ years ago.

  3. Chris D. says:

    How come NASCAR publishes prize money for Cup races but they don’t do it for Modified Tour races.?

  4. Chris d ,simple answer . because it would be an embarassment

  5. Larry , you are right !

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